Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Taiwanese nationals working at the Formosa Plastics Group's (FPG's) steel plant in Vietnam and their family members are all safe after a protest by 3,000 activists outside the plant Sunday.
The ministry said its representative office in Vietnam made contact with Formosa Ha Tinh Steel when the protest began Sunday morning and found that Vietnamese public security personnel stationed there had closed the plant and taken measures to maintain order during the protest.
"The protesters have now left, and the workers at the steel plant and their family members are all safe and their property secure," the ministry said.
It said its representative office contacted Vietman's public security department and asked it to send more personnel to the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel complex to protect the workers there and safeguard the life and property of all Taiwanese businesses operating in Ha Tinh.
Vietnam responded by promising to handle the issue proactively, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's representative to Vietnam Richard Shih (???) and Formosa Ha Tinh Steel vice general manager Chang Fu-ning (???) told CNA separately that no FPG personnel at the plant were in danger and that the plant did not report any property damage.
The protest by angry fishermen and activists from three provinces -- Guang Binh, Nghe An and Ha Tinh -- came after several hundred people from those regions sued FPG last week for compensation for its plant's pollution that led to massive fish deaths in waters off Vietnam's coast.
Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp., located in the Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh in central Vietnam, was said by the Vietnamese government to have discharged pollutants that killed fish along a 130-mile stretch of coastline in the country.
The pollution has caused more than 40,000 Vietnamese fishermen to lose or nearly lose their jobs and an additional 176,000 people in Vietnam have been indirectly affected by the environmental disaster, according to one estimate.
In a settlement with the Vietnamese government, the Formosa Plastics Group said it accepted full responsibility for the incident, and it has pledged US$500 million to compensate those affected and clean up the environment.
It more recently said when asked about the protests that it would defer to Vietnam's government in handling the case.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel